Thursday, April 23, 2015

Gremlin Bells: Fighting Off Bad Luck

Did you ever see the Twilight Zone episode with William Shatner called “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet - 1963”? The monstrous Gremlin, that was on the outside of the plane trying to sabotage the wing engine, was a real menace. I also remember as a kid watching a Merrie Melodies Cartoon (“Falling Hare - 1943”) with Bugs Bunny, where he was trying to comically fight off a small Gremlin with a hat shaped a little like an airplane. In the movie Gremlins (1984), there was one good gremlin (Gizmo) who was accidentally splashed with water, which created the other problematic gremlins. These problematic gremlins eventually ran amok through the town of Kingston Falls. These examples were loosely based on the Gremlin, an evil spirit bent on wreaking havoc and misfortune to those they visit. Nasty creatures!

That's not a gremlin...Captain.

Gremlins have a long mythical history of being mischievous and mechanically inclined. One of the origins of the word Gremlin comes from an old English word “gremain”, meaning “to vex”. These little terrors were very popular during World War II when the work force was in full-bore and accident rates were through the roof.  Before mankind started making really complex machinery, the “imp” was the mischievous little monster that would thwart people in their endeavours. Perhaps the Gremlin is an evolution of the Imp, as the machinery and complexities of the world have evolved - so too did this creature.

Although this story was covered a few years ago, I believe it is time to revisit the idea behind the Gremlin Bell. The theory goes that you can benefit just by having a Gremlin Bell hung low to the ground to fend off the evil road spirits that want to harm riders. But, the effect can be much better by giving the Gremlin Bell as a gift of protection. This isn’t another “friendship bracelet”, or “lucky rabbit’s foot” kind of good luck charm. But (and I think this is the best part of gifting the Gremlin Bell to a rider), is that you are genuinely wishing protection for that rider.

Other good luck charms found around the world include:

Nazar from Turkey: this is a ward against the evil eye: a curse believed to be cast by malevolent glares. These glares were often given to a person when they were unaware and cause misfortune or injury.
Because people would wander around the market places, they were very concerned about building up ill-intent through too many bad looks. Even if it wasn't intended, these bad looks were believed to cause illness, injury, and bring the recipient really bad luck.
Evil Spirit: “I’ve got my eye on you! ;-)”
Me: “Stop looking at me, you’re creeping me out  little. Perv.”

The fig sign is also sold as a charm and was once used in Ancient Rome to ward off the evil spirits of the dead. The charm is in the shape of a clenched fist, with the thumb tucked inside, and is now believed to ward off the evil eye as well, but the gesture is considered mildly obscene in some European countries and is closely related to the “finger” here in the U.S. F-you evil spirits!

Frogs, in Japan, are considered good luck charms for travelers, as they are thought to ensure their safe return. Although, I would not necessarily want to keep a frog in my saddlebag or pocket, a frog charm is perfectly acceptable. They were also seen as a fertility deity due to the number of eggs the females produce.

Vulture heads: yep, believe it or not, in Africa vulture heads are actually sought out and hunted to sell to people looking for good luck and foresight. Because vultures have such great vision, ancient cultures believed that vultures could see into the future. Protecting those that posses one to veer clear of danger. And, even though this is kinda cool, I’m only imagining the really dumb vultures from the old Looney Toons cartoons being the ones to get their heads removed.

Pendant of St. Christopher: St. Christopher is the man who carried Christ the child across the river with the child Christ and the weight of the world on his shoulders. This pendant is believed to protect travelers on their journeys. Heavy.

The idea behind these pendants and charms is pretty amazing considering the legends behind them. But it is the meaning behind receiving one of these that is makes it all the more meaningful, and powerful. If someone gives you a Gremlin Bell, it means that they want you to be protected and safe through your travels. The rules behind the Gremlin Bell are that you can purchase one for yourself, but the power is doubled when you receive on as a gift. For some of us, we may not believe in the meaning behind these charms, but for those giving us their good will you have to feel really fortunate knowing that someone cares about you and your safety. If you know someone that rides a motorcycle, appreciate their love of the open road and gift them some extra safety. What kind of lucky charms do you believe in? Are there any practices that you or someone who rides do to protect themselves from evil spirits? What would you suggest riders do before they take their ride? The world is a crazy place, and we could all use a little extra protection and good will. Be safe out there. Enjoy the ride.

If you’d like to see our previous post on Gremlin Bells, you can read it at .

Monday, April 20, 2015

Founders Review!! New TAKA Windshield!! Gold Wing!! Oh, my!!!

There are exciting new changes being made for the TAKA windshields for the Gold Wing. We’ve built it stronger, more durable, and more stable than before. Steve Austin’s 6-Million Dollar Man-bionic jump soundtrack can literally be heard as we prepare to re-launch this new windshield (shananananana). We have been listening to our customers feedback and we are excited!! Our founder, Matt Gardner, has written a personal review and you can read his remarks at the link below. We’re excited, and we hope you will be too! See the Founder’s Review here: CLICK HERE

Thursday, April 16, 2015

8 Tips for Dusting Off your bike for Spring.

Read your Manual. If you’re still stuck indoors, now would be a good time to get your manual out and start reading and planning on what your bike needs. We are doing research and are getting prepared for the spring ride, but we are also making sure that we are getting the specific fluids, parts, and knowledge under our belt before we begin.

Fuel. Stale gasoline can be very problematic with stored vehicles. You should top off and add fuel stabilizers to winterize your bike before storing. Gasoline is a refined chemical and deteriorates very quickly. After a few months, the more combustible elements have already begun to evaporate, which in turn makes your bike run rough, or not at all. Gasoline can react to oxygen as well creating a varnish deposit in the fuel system, which can clog lines, jets or injectors, and filters. Condensation can also form inside your gas tank, depending on the temperature, adding water to your gasoline also. This too can cause problems for your motor and parts. You can empty your tank and leave it in storage empty, but some of our research has discovered that doing so can leave rust in your tank.

Battery Maintenance. One of the most common issues with bikes being stored for the winter is batteries. They are still drawing current from the battery while they sit hooked up. A good way to preserve the battery is to use a trickle charger while it is stored. If you forget this step, and you get prepared for your spring ride early, you can have enough time to order a new one. If you happen to hook up your battery to a charger and nothing happens, chances are that your battery will joined the choir invisible, along with Monty Python’s Dead Parrot.

Tires. Check your tires after storage. Be conscious of potential flat-spotting on the tires from sitting for the extended time in its winter Bastille
. Tire pressure really should be checked before every ride, as there are only a few square inches of rubber between your bike, yourself, and the road. So having good tires and proper pressure is important. Check for damages, and if everything is good fill your tire pressure  up to specifications. Air will have seeped out during the months it has been in storage.

You may have already done this before storing your bike during the winterizing process, but if you haven’t it might be a good time to change your oil and keep things lubricated and smooth. Anytime you change your oil, it’s always a good idea to change your filter at the same time. Here is where reading your manual will come in handy, as your owners manual will have a list of the parts needed for maintenance and upkeep, and may even have information on how to perform the procedure.

This is a fluid that can be easily forgotten, but there is reason to check it. Brake fluid is very hygroscopic, meaning that it absorbs moisture from the air very easily. At the very least, it is recommend that you top off the fluid levels in your master cylinder. Make sure that you have the correct brake fluid for your bike, and do not mix different DOT brake fluids. If you are changing your brake fluid do a complete flush of your brake system with new fluid.

Check your coolant (If applicable). Especially after your bike has been sitting for a few months. We've found that some riders do a coolant flush by using white vinegar and distilled water, and then adding a fresh mix of coolant. If you tend to ride hard or your bike runs hot, consider using a racing-approved coolant. Some of them can reduce operating temperatures by 20 degrees or more.

Spring Cleaning. Now that your bike is tuned up and ready for riding, and your arms and hands have earned some nicks and slight exhaustion that feels great; now is the time to make your bike reflect the pride you feel for your spring cleaning efforts. Make your bike look as good as you feel by giving it a good scrub and wax. This will also help to protect your bike from riding season hazards such as dirt, rocks, and sun.

What other suggestions would you include? What are your tried and true methods for your Spring Dust Off?
Let us know!

Just found this, its a flashback to the past - Super Dave Osborne

Super Dave Osborne is just what we needed today to get things going.... PLEASE ENJOY!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The ULTIMATE Soundtrack for the road!

Let's face it, music and motorcycle riding go hand in hand. It can smooth, energize, entertain, or even stimulate the ride. Long Ride Shields polled 100 riders all with different bike types and brands, riding styles, and riding cultures. We asked each person what are their top 5 songs to cruise to. So we came up with a list that has some of the best songs picked among our fans and customers.  Here is some ear candy for you all to ENJOY THE RIDE!

If we missed any of your favorites please share with us on our Facebook page.

                             1. Twisted Sister - Ride To Live; Live To Ride

2. Steppenwolf - Born To Be Wild 

3. Aerosmith - Dream On

4. AC/DC - Thuderstruck

5. AC/DC - Hells Bells

6. Guns N' Roses - Welcome To The Jungle

7. Led Zepplin - Kashmir

8. Metallica - Sad But True

9. Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues

10. Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train

11. Faith No More - Epic

12. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Give It Away

13. Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun

14. Black Sabbath - Iron Man

15. System Of The Down - Chop Suey